Why Austinites Should Ignore Texas Monthly
The article “Why Austinites Should Move to Houston” [September 2021] is meant to be a joke, right? The Bayou City has everything? Indeed. Everything ten times over. Every excess you never needed. The author describes Houston as “a place without pretension or zoning [that] will gleefully tear down its past” and is unafraid to “pour massive amounts of concrete to accommodate new residents.” This is an asset? Not only do the miles of concrete create a staggeringly ugly landscape as the city attempts to provide enough uncomfortable “living” spaces, but this paved sprawl has left no place for the increasingly frequent high waters to go. Whatever Austin’s deficits may be, they hardly merit flocking to Houston.
John Butler, Spring
Your article “The Luck of the Genetic Draw” [September 2021] was a disservice to science. [Psychologist] Kathryn Paige Harden is on the standard quixotic liberal quest to find an excuse (genetics) for the lack of success rather than dare to explore potential reasons (e.g., personal choices). When she identifies the specific “lack of success” gene or genes through clinical investigation, then her theory will become credible, but not before.
Mike Mahaffey, Austin
Can’t Rightly Say
I just finished reading the article about pronouncing Texas town names [The Texanist, September 2021]. I was disappointed that you did not include Mexia. Not that it holds any special meaning to me except that it is the subject of one of my favorite jokes. I can’t imagine you haven’t heard it, but here goes.
A couple driving through the Texas countryside entered into a spirited debate about the pronunciation of the town Mexia. The wife claimed it was pronounced “Muh-hay-uh,” and the husband was certain it was simply pronounced like it was spelled, “Mex-ee-uh.” They decided it was worth a short detour to go to the town and ask a local. So, as they entered Mexia, they stopped at the first business they encountered, a drive-through restaurant. They pulled up to the window, and the man said, “My wife and I were discussing how to pronounce the name of this place. Would you please say the name slowly and settle our argument?” The woman working at the window said clearly and distinctly, “Dair-ee-Kween.”
Dan McVay, Plano
I enjoyed reading mention of the late George Mitchel Stokes, who, as you rightly note, was the state’s authority on all things pronunciation. I was at Baylor during the Stokes era—he was the only stadium announcer who would cause me to stop talking between plays on a sunny fall day for fear of missing “To the owner of the blue 1973 Chevy Impala: your windshield wipers are on.” Also at Baylor at that time was Dr. Euell Porter, who had taken Baylor choirs on so many bus trips you could pick any of the many roads out of town and he could tell you, in order, the towns you’d pass in the first two hours.
Randy Stevens, Texarkana